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Stethoscopes to Swaddles Podcast


Jul 5, 2021

The Mental Load of Motherhood

The mental load is a term for the invisible labor involved in managing a household and family.

 

MOTHERS AS CAPTAIN

Cicciola and Luthar, 2016

Invisible Household Labor and Ramifications for Adjustment: Mothers as Captains of Households

In the study, they sought to capture mothers’ felt obligations as the “captain of the ship” that was their household, that is, the extent to which mothers felt that they, more so than their spouses, shouldered responsibility for the management of the home.

 

WHY IT HAPPENS

 Descriptive and prescriptive stereotypes 

 

MEASURES

Emotional intimacy

Physical intimacy

Satisfaction with partner

Parenting role overload

Overall life satisfaction and emptiness



HOW TO IDENTIFY OVERLOAD

Burnout and depletion

Resentment and dissatisfaction

Overwhelm

Feeling unseen



MANAGING THE LOAD

Heighten awareness among today’s mothers of the degree to which and areas in which they might unwittingly shoulder disproportionate household responsibilities as compared to men, along with the potential fallouts. 

“Mothering mothers” (Luthar and Ciciolla 2016, p. 1820). 

Society should consider the magnitude of responsibilities mothers take on at home and at work, and equally, the degree to which mothers have opportunities to prioritize and make time for authentic connections with others to replenish themselves.

HOW TO NAVIGATE THE MENTAL LOAD

Share concrete examples of your mental load—> write them down

Ask for help with the management, not just chores

Continuous communication

Delegate and outsource

Task lists/ Project management

Prioritize rest and self care

Deconstruct gender stereotypes with partner and kids

 

Fair Play:” A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live)

- Eve Rodsky

Invisible Household Labor and Ramifications for Adjustment: Mothers as Captains of Households
- Cicciola and Luthar, 2016